Three Ways To Find Transformation In The StruggleShare via
Living and working with others can be a struggle. That’s a given. It’s a natural part of having different perspectives, skills, backgrounds, experiences, and values. The good news is that the struggle doesn’t have to tear us down. There can be transformation in the struggle. It all depends on how you choose to struggle.
Three kinds of struggle always end badly. One kind is transformational.
Do you turn every struggle into an adversarial situation? Do you view conflict as competition to be won or lost? Struggling against creates power struggles that only escalate the negative energy in a relationship. Struggling against results in broken relationships, alienation, cancel culture and war.
Struggle Instead Of
Are you a solution searching for a problem? Do you swoop in with your unsolicited advice under the guise of helping, when the real motive is to stroke your own ego? Did you get promoted because you were so good at your job, and now you spend your energy rescuing everyone else instead of teaching and coaching them? Or maybe you like to play the martyr, taking on everyone else’s burdens and then feeling resentful because nobody appreciates your sacrifice.
Struggling instead of is what I call nonconsensual helping. It’s a violation of human capability and self-determination.
What are you carrying inside that you’ve not told anyone? Are you afraid to share your struggles for fear that nobody would understand, or even worse, that they would reject you? Maybe you rationalize your silence by believing that everyone else is struggling and you don’t want to be a burden. Maybe you’ve been burned before and made a decision that suffering in silence is the safest bet.
When you struggle alone, you devalue yourself and deprive others of the opportunity to support you. Struggling alone only spirals in to further loneliness and isolation.
The only kind of struggle that transforms relationships and adds positive energy to the world is struggling with. Humans were built to struggle together. We are meant to come together when life gets tough, even if the struggle is between us. “Struggling with” is the true definition of compassion. Compassion is what makes us human, brings us together, and gets us back on track when we lose our way.
Why is struggling with so transformative?
- It affirms our humanity
- It connects us so we don’t feel alone
- It shares the burdens
- It utilizes conflict as a source of creative energy
- It creates a shared connection during tough times
- It seeks win-win solutions
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
– Wayne Dyer
Three Ways To Find Transformation In The Struggle
Every year we train and coach hundreds of leaders to find transformation in the struggle. Here’s what we’ve discovered as the best first steps:
- Get Vulnerable: Get honest with others about how you are really doing and what you are really feeling. How can anyone struggle with you if they don’t know what you are struggling with? It’s going to be difficult, and you will feel exposed. Do it anyway because you are worth it. Your value doesn’t depend on how others respond. Getting vulnerable is about you claiming your real power, not at the expense of others. Getting vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. Leaders, take note: vulnerability, transparency and real connection are one of the biggest drivers of trust and loyalty on teams. It starts with you.
- Ask For Help: It’s not enough just to share your struggle. If you stopped there, you’d be a sitting duck and others be left wondering what to do next. The next step is to ask for help. At minimum, ask for a listening and nonjudgmental ear. Most people want to help, but they don’t know how until you ask.
- Walk With People: If you are technician who tries to fix everything, I bet you are regularly frustrated by those things in life that aren’t fixable, like emotions. Here’s my advice: Fix what you can.
With the things you can’t fix, walk through it with them. Long after they forget how great a technician you were, they will remember whether you sat with them when they were scared, empathized when they were anxious, walked toward them with compassion when there was conflict, and celebrated with them when things went well.
Here’s how to embrace inclusion with a Compassion Mindset.
Struggling with others starts with a mindset that views everyone, including yourself, as valuable, capable and responsible. When you struggle with others instead of against, instead-of or alone, the energy of the struggle can transform relationships, cultures, and organizations.